The Chicago Bears deserve to be a 2020 playoff team.
I just wanted to get that one off my chest as several fans have been down on the Bears for backing into the postseason with an 8-8 record.
The NFL approved a 7th playoff team in each conference starting this year, the Bears won enough games to qualify for that last seed in the NFC, thus they deserve their place in the tournament.
They may get trounced by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, but they could also pull off the upset. Did you know that since the 2000 season, there have been 5 teams to enter the playoffs at 8-8 and those teams have gone 4-1 in their first game?
But if the Bears are going to pull off the upset, they’ll need quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to play the best football of his life. The game plan from the three game winning streak was exposed a bit once the Bears faced a better defense in the Packers. We even saw some of the boots ands roll outs schemed away by the Jags two weeks ago, but Jacksonville’s pass defense was awful so Trubisky was able to find some open receivers regardless.
The Saints have an even better defense than the Packers do, so things could get ugly, but once that whistle blows anything can happen.
Let’s take a trip around some NFL Power Rankings to see what the experts are saying about the playoff bound Chicago Bears.
Since this is a quarterback league, the Sporting News went ahead and ranked the 14 playoff team’s QBs.
14. Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
Trubisky’s contract is a constant topic of conversation in Chicago, and he heads into his second playoff start with questions about whether he can be the long-term answer. Trubisky had 10 TDs and five interceptions in his last five starts, but he will be pressed to take more shots against the Saints in the NFC wild card round. The Bears’ have protected well in the last three games, but they’ll need to be even better to give Trubisky a chance.
The Ringer only ranked the playoff teams this week and they have the Bears 13th.
There’s no denying that the Bears offense has looked better and has functioned more effectively with Mitchell Trubisky back under center over the past six games. But there’s a pretty significant chasm between being better and being good, and we saw just how limited this team’s passing game is in Chicago’s loss to the Packers on Sunday. Trubisky finished 33-of-42 for 252 yards and an interception in the 35-16 loss.
This pass chart from NFL Next Gen Stats tells a pretty vivid story about the Bears’ approach.
This is the picture of an offensive coordinator hiding his quarterback. Bill Lazor is going to have to open things up a bit for the Bears to have any shot of knocking off the Saints on Sunday. More importantly, Trubisky is going to have to hit a few more throws.
The Bears were 13th according to the Bleacher/Report, who also only ranked the playoff teams.
The Chicago Bears enter the postseason in an unenviable position among this year’s participants.
Of the 14 teams in the playoffs, the Bears were the only team who backed in. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs lost in Week 17, but they each had numerous healthy starters on the sideline.
The Bears gave it everything they had against the Packers in Chicago, and they still got beaten handily.
But after the loss to Green Bay, head coach Matt Nagy told reporters that he isn’t interested in people casting aspersions on Chicago’s legitimacy as a playoff team.
“No one’s going to take away what these players did to work back these last three weeks, to put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs,” Nagy said. “And they did that. And there’s no one that’s going to take that from those players and the coaches.”
The 2020 Bears have been all over the place. After a 5-1 start, they lost six straight before reeling off a three-game win streak to get back into playoff contention. They made a pair of in-season changes at quarterback, and their Week 17 loss sends them pitching and lurching toward a matchup with the Saints in New Orleans.
It’s too much of a roller coaster for Gagnon to take the Bears seriously as anything more than a team headed toward a Big Easy beatdown.
“In any other season, the Bears would clearly be the worst team in the playoff field,” he said. “This year, they’re bailed out by the NFC Least. There’s no way I’m getting behind Mitchell Trubisky and Matt Nagy in January, even if they made progress late and the defense is strong.”
CBS Sports moved the Bears up two spots to 13.
They got blown out by the Packers, but backed into the playoffs. They face a tough first test at New Orleans.
USA Today’s Touchdown Wire also has the Bears at 13.
The Chicago Bears are in the playoffs.
Of course the focus in this “win and in” game for the Bears was on quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. His recent string of good games was going to be put to the test, and if you were hoping that the young QB had truly turned the page, you might have been in for some disappointment. A prime example came late in the game on a 4th-and-1 situation, where Trubisky rolled out to his right and threw what should have been an interception, thankfully for him it was dropped.
But while the Bears were losing to their rivals the Green Bay Packers, the Arizona Cardinals were losing to the Los Angeles Rams. That resulted in the Bears sliding into the final playoff spot based on their better winning percentage in common games than the Cardinals.
Read all that again and tell me if you’re confident in the Bears next week.
Pro Football Talk has it like this.
14. Bears (No. 14; 8-8): Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy likely will be back. Whether Mitchell Trubisky joins them may hinge on what happens on Sunday in New Orleans.
Here’s what Yahoo Sports had to say.
14. Chicago Bears (8-8, LW: 14)
Yes, the Bears backed into the playoffs at 8-8. Ask 18 NFL teams whose offseasons have started if they would change places with Chicago.
Sports Illustrated had the Bears like this.
14. Chicago Bears (8–8)
Highest-place vote: 14 (4)
Lowest-place vote: 19 (1)
The Bears backed into a playoff spot in the NFC, but 8–8 with a No. 7 seed is still enough to get in the top half of our poll.
NFL.com is keeping the Bears at 15th overall.
Call it the march to nowhere: Down 21-16 early in the fourth quarter, the Bears advanced the ball 51 yards on 15 plays in a drive that took Chicago deep into Packers territory and covered more than eight minutes of game time. But Mitchell Trubisky’s fourth-and-1 pass to Allen Robinson fell incomplete, and two Packers touchdowns later, Chicago was on the wrong end of a blowout. The Bears backed into the playoffs anyway (thanks, Cardinals), but it’s hard to have much faith in a Matt Nagy team that resurrected its season in December by fattening up on some of the worst defenses in football. Chicago’s forward momentum was halted when the competition improved, and now the Saints await on Sunday. Look out.
The USA Today has it like this.
16. Bears (13): Pretty remarkable Matt Nagy got this team to eight wins and the postseason, but Chicago’s 1-6 record against teams with winning records is probably playoff-predictive.
What are your thoughts on the final regular season power rankings.